The Five Top Original Pizza Parlors in Eugene, Oregon

In a town known more for it’s coffee shops and bike trails, pizza may not be the first thing that comes to mind when contemplating something to eat. But, as in any college town, great pizza is a staple and Eugene boasts some original and fabulous places to grab a slice. If you want to get away from the national chains and cheaper fare, try one of these pizza joints

– you won’t go away hungry.

Mazzi’s Italian Restaurant is nestled in a neighborhood in the south hills at 3377 E. Amazon and, while they are most known for their Italian dishes and calzone, pizza is another one of the restaurant’s specialties. The pizza is made from classic Italian ingredients and you can substitute the delicious homemade pesto for the secret special tomato sauce on any pizza. Prices range from $7.50 to $19.95. The website at www.mazzis.com provides regulars the opportunity to sign up for an email newsletter and there is a new recipe featured regularly. Directions, hours, daily specials and the menu are all available online, or you can phone the restaurant at 687-2252.

Cozmic Pizza ( www.cozmicpizza.com) is another Eugene original. While the restaurant is located at 199 W. 8th and doubles as a performing arts and music venue, delivery is also available. Call for hours at 338-9333. Cozmic Pizza boasts using all organic ingredients. They grind their own flour, utilize locally grown produce and gourmet meats. A cheese pizza costs between $5.50 and $15.75 and additional toppings cost extra. In addition to delicious pizza prepared fresh with organic ingredients, you can feel good about having your pizza delivered in reusable delivery boxes and a company that promotes the use of sustainable energy sources (bicycles, alternative cars, etc.)

For pizza more on the “upscale,” Bene Gourmet Pizza (www.benegourmet.com) has two locations in Eugene – 2566 Willamette (284-2702) and 4 Oakway Center (284-2701.) Started in Eugene by an ex-accountant, Bene Gourmet has recently expanded to open restaurants in Denver, Colorado. You can download the menu from the website and keep up with both the traditional and more trendy gourmet offerings. This is a nice choice for an evening when you’re craving pizza but need to entertain your in-laws or want to order in pizza for an important meeting. You won’t be disappointed, the pizza is scrumptious and the ambiance is fine.

Within walking distance of the University of Oregon campus is another family-owned and operated tradition, Pegasus Smokehouse Pizza (www.pegasuspizza.net). Located at 790 E. 14th Avenue only about one block from campus, the restaurant features include a lasagna-style pizza and the spicy Tijuana Taxi. They also have wonderful fresh salads available and very affordable lunch specials. Pizza costs between $8 and $25.

For a completely “Eugene” experience, you can’t beat the Pizza Research Institute. Often voted the best vegetarian pizza in Eugene, PRI (as it is commonly known) is located at 1328 Laurence Street. The closest I could find to a website was http://vegetarian-restaurants.net/Newsletter/Eugene.htm, but you can call for current specials at 343-1307. A right of passage in Eugene is to order the Chef Special – an ever-changing vegetarian pizza that includes 10-15 different vegetables including summer squash, corn on the cob and other surprises. This is a unique little restaurant, tucked just off 13th street – often bustling and loud with limited outdoor seating.

This is just a sampling of some of the original pizza dining experiences in Eugene. If you’re craving something a little more traditional, you’ll have to check the phone book for a complete listing. But, if you want to check out the places where the locals go, this brief list ought to get you started.

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